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Texture segmentation in Williams Syndrome

By Emily Farran and Kate Wilmut

Abstract

Williams syndrome (WS) is a developmental disorder in which visuo-spatial cognition is poor relative to verbal ability. At the level of visuo-spatial perception, individuals with WS can perceive both the local and global aspects of an image. However, the manner in which local elements are integrated into a global whole is atypical, with relative strengths in integration by luminance, closure, and alignment compared to shape, orientation and proximity. The present study investigated the manner in which global images are segmented into local parts. Segmentation by seven gestalt principles was investigated: proximity, shape, luminance, orientation, closure, size (and alignment: Experiment 1 only). Participants were presented with uniform texture squares and asked to detect the presence of a discrepant patch (Experiment 1) or to identify the form of a discrepant patch as a capital E or H (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1 the pattern and level of performance of the WS group did not differ from that of typically developing controls, and was commensurate with the general level of non-verbal ability observed in WS. These results were replicated in Experiment 2, with the exception of segmentation by proximity, where individuals with WS demonstrated superior performance relative to the remaining segmentation types. Overall, the results suggest that, despite some atypical aspects of visuo-spatial perception in WS, the ability to segment a global form into parts is broadly typical in this population. In turn, this informs predictions of brain function in WS, particularly areas V1 and V4

Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:2065

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